My name is Megan. I’m a full-time college student living in LA, getting my degree in Business Administration and working at night to help pay for school. That in itself isn’t very remarkable, but through my work with the Criminon program, I’ve been able to change hundreds of lives for the better. That, to me, is incredible.
I’ve worked with Criminon for a few years now, coaching inmates through The Way to Happiness correspondence course. I’ve never physically gone into a prison, but I’ve experienced it through the prisoners I supervise.
The way they explain it, they are lost. They search for a way out of the prison system, or at least a way to survive inside it. I’ve written to those who have been in for 25 years and those who have been in for 2. I’ve experienced the same tone of hopelessness from each. The prisoners don’t feel that they can do anything to change their environment, and that they must simply suffer through until they’ve done their time.
By the end of the course, though, they are completely changed. They feel they can do something about their surroundings, they can handle the people they must live with, and they can even take back their lives. I’ve had multiple prisoners successfully petition for early release after finishing this course. The only reason it works is they have actually changed.
They really realize the mistakes they made, but more importantly, they want to fix them. I have gotten so many heartfelt letters from inmates thanking me for helping them win back themselves. Here is an excerpt from one of them:
“…I do have to say I wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up for this course. I mean obviously no amount of programs are going to change a person unless the person is ready to change, and in here everything, even staff and administration, seem convinced it isn’t even possible despite the face they put on to the public…
“I mean this humbly, I feel unstoppable. My heart feels like a fountain of light ready to race across the sky. I can’t tell you what a comfort it is to just know people like you exist. Who, despite the darkness that blankets the world, defy the shadows that loom over your hearts by believing that the good exists equally powerfully. It makes me stand up a little straighter in this place.”
The man who wrote that had been incarcerated for 19 years. He hadn’t seen his children or his family in the longest time, and he had lost all hope for himself. After completing The Way to Happiness course, he really did achieve happiness.